An employer has been fined $306,000 and ordered to pay emotional harm reparation of $75,000 after a worker rode a quad bike onto hazardous ground and was killed when the quad bike overturned.

The Court found that the company failed to establish a safe work system to identify hazards.  Workers should have had proper maps showing hazards and should have received an induction at every orchard at which they were working.

Of interest in this case is that WorkSafe also prosecuted the pack house and the farm owner where the incident occurred and both of those parties were found not guilty.

The worker had driven her quad bike to an area of the farm where there was no need for her to go and the Court found that the farmer and pack house could not have anticipated that she would have driven to an area where she was not required to undertake any work. 

A question remains as to why the employer was thought to be able to anticipate that the worker would drive her quad bike to an area of the farm where she was not required to work and how they were supposed to know to provide maps showing hazards in areas where she was not expected to go to.

Alan Knowsley
Health & Safety Lawyer